The Nasty Virus That Killed My Muse (and How I'm Going to Get It Back)

COVID19 is an evolutionary marvel, I'll give it that. Spreading throughout the world in a matter of months, this evil coronavirus has touched, in some shape or form, nearly every single human life on planet Earth. My sacrifices have been minor and I am thankful. A few weeks of lockdown, the mask requirement, restrictions on what I can do and where I can go, my husband loudly zooming at the desk next to mine; these are all things I can survive. I'm grateful to live in a country led by a woman who is thoughtful, compassionate, and believes in science. I'll get through this.

My business, however, is mad as hell at this stupid virus. Shipping problems, supply problems, and a general reluctance of customers to shop for jewelry in a pandemic (something I completely understand, believe me) has slowed Ontogenie to a crawl. My malaise at the situation is evident by the sparseness of my social media posts.

After long walks in the forest contemplating what my business should be, I've decided that I need to make it more local and more sustainable. I'm not abandoning Ontogenie, but I can't resume fully normal operations until the pandemic situation in India is resolved. All 3D-printing/precious metal casting via Shapeways, i.Materialise, and several other companies is done in India. Until it is safe for these workers to return to their jobs, I'm not going to add to the burden of backlogged orders. I still have pieces in stock that can ship immediately, but new pieces and replenishing out of stock pieces isn't going to be happening for a while.

This brings me to my current plan, laser cut acrylic. laser cut acrylic colorsThe advantage of laser cutting is that the materials can be procured locally (Europe), the cutting can be done locally (Weimar), and the pieces can be sold locally in small shops. I will be using a recycled acrylic product called "Greencast." It is not widely available because most acrylic companies are swamped with the manufacture of clear acrylic safety shields for use in public places. The recycling process involves collecting waste acrylic, converting it chemically from its polymeric state to a monomer, and then resynthesizing the acrylic polymer. I'm excited to have 8 different colors of this material to play with. The photo shows pink, apricot and dark green.

Because I'm designing for a broader, more local audience, there will be a little less science. adobe illustrator designsThe designs I'm working on fall into three categories: botanical, abstract, and local inspiration. I'm using a strange workflow of Blender and Adobe Illustrator to create the laser cut designs, but it's a workflow that makes sense to me and it's getting the job done. When I'm farther along in the process, I'll show off some of the designs. I'm excited to be working with a bolder, more colorful medium. It's always possible that a few more science-y designs will sneak into the mix, so stay tuned.


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